These were the early days of March. The UK had yet to go into lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic loomed ever larger.
It was the era of panic buying and supermarket shelves being stripped bare of hand sanitiser and dried pasta.
The streets of Manchester felt tense as no-one had any idea what was coming.
The news bulletins were virus-saturated as our European neighbours were buckling under the weight of new cases and mounting deaths. Social media was just as jittery, circled with rumours and more panic.
We needed moments of calm.
There were some voices crying that this was all getting too much, that it was scarring their mental well-being. People were looking for diversions in a time of huge uncertainty. Their normal way of life was coming under threat.
I asked friends if they needed supplies and kept a look-out for toilet paper. But I wanted to do something more.
So I turned to my photographs to see if they could offer an escape from this unsettling climate.
I’ve built up a considerable picture archive over the years, visiting many places. I like slow, calming scenes with negative space and was able to curate a gallery to publish that week.
There were the two geese gliding by on the Manchester canal where I live, blocks of soothing colours and a minimal Essex scene showing an empty picnic table.
I told viewers these were absorbing images they could lose themselves in just for a moment. No need for full meditation with just a visual cue to take away mental stresses.
Forget the manic pace of the news cycle. Take time to slow down.
Unusual times require extra care, and the language I used in my post was very different: “Stay safe and healthy. Take care”.
Just two days after I published the post, the UK went into lockdown. We were told to stay at home which triggered anxiety and bristling creativity in equal measure.
We’re definitely not out of the woods yet. Cases are rising again around the world including here in Manchester where some restrictions have been reintroduced.
Keeping calm and enjoying slow moments will stay with us for some time.
You can visit the original 15 Moments of Calm post from 21 March here.